Ariel Celestin knew her appointment as saint was a political ploy to empower the crown prince. Once her fraud’s uncovered, death awaits. Desperate, Ariel schemes to flee with the gods who dote on her. However, her actions draw the prince, pope, and merchant’s eyes, and Ariel sees her miracle may not save her.
The temple chose Ariel, a peasant, as saint to legitimize the prince’s rule. Though untrained, Ariel played her part. Meanwhile, the gods who frequently visited granted any wish. Ariel lived comfortably but feared exposure.
One day, Ariel wished to see her village. The gods transported her and back, but her absence was noted. The prince suspected the saint he created was false.
Ariel grew frantic. She wished to escape to her village but realized the gods would follow, exposing her again. Trapped, Ariel confessed to a priest, who reported to the pope and merchant funding the temple.
Summoned to the pope, Ariel claimed illness left her bedridden. The pope came to her. Ariel begged for mercy, offering to serve faithfully henceforth. The pope reluctantly agreed but confined her to the temple.
The prince, however, traced the gossip to Ariel. He confronted her and demanded she prove her saintliness or die. Ariel prayed for a miracle in vain.
The merchant brokered a deal: Ariel would continue as saint but report to him, serving his political interests. Ariel accepted gratefully.
At her next appearance, the gods began transporting Ariel again. The merchant ordered them to stop and never return, or he would destroy their temple. The gods submitted.
Ariel remained saint in name but was ruled entirely by the merchant’s schemes. Her status protected her life but cost her freedom. The gods who caused this misery no longer answered her prayers or brought comfort. Ariel had escaped death but now faced a life in chains, her miracle having led to her downfall. She vowed to hide her true self forever beneath the guise of saint.